Trailblazers – Q&A with Herb Essentials

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We dreamed about a high-end cannabis skincare brand, and our prayers have been answered. A few weeks ago we received a package from Herb Essentials – a new skincare brand with a range of high performing skincare products that utilize the unique beneficial properties of Cannabis. 

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The current collection consists of a gentle moisturiser, body lotion, lip balm and a scented candle, none of which contain the psychoactive substance THC and are 100% legal. Not to mention the packaging…the classic black & white, no-nonsense design speaks volumes about the sophisticated team behind the brand. 

We chatted with the brand’s founders Robert Lund and Ulrika Karlberg, to find out more about their backgrounds, current projects and plans for the future.

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What are your backgrounds & what made you decide to create a cannabis skincare brand?

We are business partners and life partners living in New York City. We’re both from Sweden and have a branding and marketing background working on brands in all kinds of industries. We started talking about the idea of Herb Essentials during a weekend in LA and couldn’t stop until we had explored it thoroughly.  When we realized the potency of Cannabis as a skincare ingredient, we decided we owed it to the idea to realize it!

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Your packaging and branding is simple and sophisticated – what was the inspiration behind it?

It is influenced by New York designer Herb Lubalin’s iconic work in typography that in part signifies the era when the Cannabis plant broke through in mainstream America. When it became a natural part of pop culture in the form of marijuana for recreational use. But even though Cannabis has been a big topic since then, stigma has kept it in a category of its own. Herb Essentials was founded on the idea of creating a Cannabis infused skincare brand that can appeal to everyone. The marijuana movement broke through with a clear message of love and tolerance and had a very inclusive mindset. As a brand we wanted to honor the foundation of our existence and at the same time invite an audience outside the traditional Cannabis culture. Our visual appearance reflects that. We feel that it’s an expression of the two worlds in harmony.

Tell us a bit more about your ‘Stay Creative’ micro portraits series – who are some of the creative people that inspire you?

It all stems from what Cannabis actually does for your skin. Instead of emulating something or adding an extra layer to your skin, it triggers your skin to take care of itself, it triggers your skin to stay creative. So we wanted the brand to be infused with creativity in everything we do. Cannabis has been closely connected to creativity outside skincare since for ever. It has been around some of the greatest thinkers in history, from Shakespeare to Sagan. So it seemed appropriate for Herb Essentials to spread creative thinking from people we are inspired by. We talk to people who not only dare to be creative in their thinking but who act on it. Across all kinds of different fields.

To quote our latest guest, Carolina Pimenta: “You can be an incredibly creative banker”. We are very inspired by people who dare to make something out of their creativity. And we enjoy talking to them, learning from them and spreading their message. So far we’ve met with a writer and activist, a founder of a streetwear brand, and an artist. All of very different backgrounds. We plan to continue down that road, to investigate more different ways that creativity can take shape.

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Are you planning to launch any other products in the near future?

We are in the early stages of developing our next product line and are looking into what other derivatives of the Cannabis plant that we can utilize. So far, we know a lot about Cannabis Sativa Seed oil, CBD and THC, but we’re pretty sure there is a lot to learn and we will keep exploring. We’re also finalizing a collection of anecdotes titled ‘Man and Marijuana: A love story’, set to be published this year.

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The benefits of cannabis for the skin are fascinating – how did you conduct your research & learn to make the most of this amazing ingredient?

We conduct our research in collaboration with our lab and manufacturing partner in Los Angeles and through desk research, as there are many well documented scientific studies on Cannabis and its effects on your skin. We actually brought in medical students from NYU to help us decipher parts of these reports. But there’s still a lot to discover. We’ve only scratched the surface of the potential of this plant. Modern science is behind on Cannabis due to the stigmatized view on it the last 70 or so years. If you think about it, it’s been a no-go zone for the world’s top scientific researchers for all that time. That is changing rapidly now.

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Where do you find inspiration in NYC & LA?

The fact that they are made up of so many cultures and harbour such diversity is, although a cliché, hard to overlook. The people you meet and get to know in New York and LA are a huge inspiration to us. People never cease to surprise you in these two unique places on our planet. Among a million other things that makes them unique is that the competition for attention is at a pretty insane level in both cities. And maybe that is what inspired us in how we communicate around Herb Essentials, as we try to be calm, clear and transparent at all times.

What are some of your favourite canna-brands and products?

After spending some time in Portland, OR the past year, we came to really like a dispensary called Serra. The experience was very inviting and the staff were super nice and helpful. It’s a beautiful place. Dispensaries are popping up everywhere and they seem to be doing a lot of good. There are reports of the annual rate of opioid overdose deaths decreased substantially — by 25 percent on average — following the passage of medical marijuana laws, compared to states that still have bans. (There are multiple sources on this topic, here is a mainstream one.)

Finally – any plans to open up a brick & mortar store?

It’s still early days, but yes, there are definitely plans for a physical space in the future!

We’re excited to see what will come next from Herb Essentials! In the meantime, check them out on Instagram & Pinterest.

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Images courtesy of Herb Essentials / Canna Curious Club

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